Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In 2011...

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
-G.K. Chesterton

In 2011, I will bask in gratitude. Gratitude... that's my word of 2011.

Flickr photo from Bahman Farzad.

Why gratitude?
Over Thanksgiving Break I was blessed by reading
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Happiness is my lifetime goal (and always has been!). And, her journey to find happiness was eye-opening for me. One of the most important ah-ha moments I had was in Chapter ??, when she focuses on gratitude as an alternative to negativity.

I consider myself a rather optimistic person; however, lately with the stress and constant presence of schoolwork, I have found myself slipping into the "glass-half-empty" mindset more often. And, I'm just not ok with that. Even if there is just one drop left in the glass, my goal for this year is to think, "I'm thankful that there's one more sip that I get to enjoy!"

How gratitude?
Inspired by Gretchen's action plans and Christine Kane's "Do-Have-Be" model, I have brainstormed a few ideas to keep "gratitude" at the top of my mind.

  1. Think "gratitude." When I sad/angry/mad/frustrated/[fill-in-the-blank-negative], my goal is to think of something to be thankful for.
  2. Wear "gratitude." I will be designing a bracelet to wear everyday to remind to fall back on my word when I feel myself moving in the wrong direction.
  3. Share "gratitude." I will be sending notes or letters to two people every month to tell how they have inspired me.
  4. "Gratitude" marathon. The month of March--a difficult month in the life of a teacher-- (and maybe again in the fall) is designated as 31 days of gratitude. I'll photograph something everyday that makes me smile. [Inspired by this.]
When I told Rob about my resolution, he asked, "is this for when you get mad at me?" I answered truthfully, "Really it's easy to be thankful when it's you. And, it works, too. I'm hoping it works in other situations, too."

Sure, there are plenty of other little things that I want to do this year... simplify, organize, learn to work the manual settings on the camera, make friends, re-find joy in my job, host a party, be creative, and more. But, I'll be content just to be grateful for what I have, and what I am able to do. In my book, gratitude leads to happiness.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter wonderland...

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"
-J.B. Priestley

One of the greatest highlights of the weekend was waking up to a snow-covered yard on Sunday. These South Georgia and Florida kids haven't seen much snow, so we quickly put on all of our many layers of clothes and headed out the door.

And, because I'm totally enthralled by the discovery of Animoto... here's another video montage of the memories.

Christmas Wrap-up...

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words."
-Harlan Miller

A little bit of drama, a little bit of love. Mix it up and you get the average holiday celebration at my in-laws. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Joy...

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." -Harlan Miller

'Tis the season of peace. 'Tis the season of hope. 'Tis the season of love.
Merry Christmas to all of you from the two of us!
Wish we were celebrating with you!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let there be peace on earth...

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

We've been in South Carolina for three and a half days, and finally this afternoon it started to feel like Christmas. Up to now there's been a lot of complaining, negativity, and just being annoying for the hell of it.
But this afternoon while Rob and his grandpa were out on the golf course, the merriment, sounds and smells of Christmas finally arrived at my in-laws' house. I was kneading dough for our homemade rolls tomorrow. My mother-in-law was cutting out sugar cookies for baking. And, my father-in-laws' baritone "How Great Thou Art" could be heard from the living room.It may not last long, so I'm going to cherish these few moments of peace on earth.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

the 6th of december...

“Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill, Icy and chill, Little care we; Little we fear Weather without, Sheltered about The Mahogany Tree.”
-William Makepeace Thackeray

woke up to a blustery, wintery day... enjoyed warm toasted bagels at einstein's... planned lessons for the second-to-last week of school in 2010... lunch at zaxby's... spiced sugar cookie blast at sonic... went on a somewhat successful christmas shopping trip... still stumped on my mother-in-law and my secret santa... brought down the christmas decorations... put up the tree this evening... decorated the dining table... hung the wreath on the front door... set out the nativity... made a christmas list for ourselves... christmas is coming.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The most wonderful time of year...

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale

Today is the first day of December. My December favorites include:

  • Christmas trees: I have a mini-collection of modern tree statues, and I'm a sucker for an exquisite tree. Despite the fact that we've decided to go back to our faux tree this year, and as usual, our tree will sport a mismatch of ornaments, a part of me wishes for a tree like these. Green & Gold Christmas :: White-flocked trees :: Young House Love tree
  • Shopping for gifts: This year, thanks to "A Better Christmas Tree" app, I'm been shopping all year, and just have a couple of extras left to get. Some of my favorite gifts this year. Handmade scarves for my friends:: "A Year of Teeth" calendar for my uncle :: something special for my mom and sister
  • Christmas cards: Some say that the tradition of sending cards is outdated, but I still look forward to the cards, the photos, and the letters. I've got something up my sleeve for our family as well, but here are some designs that have inspired me. Return Address Luxury :: Dotted Frame Holiday :: Peace and Love :: Christmas Overlays
  • Sweets: The holiday season doesn't seem complete without a baking day! Also, makes a great gift for those hard-to-gift male colleagues. Some favorite recipes include Best Toffee Ever :: Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Sprinkles :: Peppermint Bark :: Our traditional sugar cookies with magical icing!
  • Counting down the days: The anticipation is always so much better than the actual day. And, this year I have a whole week out of school to anticipate before the holiday actually arrives. Count down with Burlap Sack Advent Calendar :: Advent Re-Invent :: Felt Advent Calendar :: Paper Holiday Advent Calendar

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